Coal mining

Coal was in abundance throughout the area. You can find more information through the NORTHERN MINE RESEARCH SOCIETY which is dedicated to the preservation and recording of mining history.

Cotton and Wool Production

Caldershaw Mills

Friends of ‘Heritage Green,’ Jenifer & Adrian Sutcliffe and Mark Hope have been doing a bit of research to establish where the water supply from the concrete structure on Heritage Green went to.

Here’s what they discovered:

It appears that there were some mills known as Caldershaw Mills on what is now Caldershaw Industrial Estate near where Ings Lane meets Rooley Moor Road. Samuel Heap and Son Ltd. of Caldershaw Mills, Rochdale are listed in the 1891 Rochdale Trade Directory as bleachers and dyers and as fullers and finishers, they occupied Caldershaw New Mill, which became known as Rake Bridge Mill. It is unmistakenly the building that was last occupied by First For Fitness, next to Pennine Fencing. It is lilkely they owned other buildings including a warehouse on the other side of Rooley Moor Road where there are now houses. Its predecessor or sister mill was Caldershaw Old Mill which has a Spotland address. Samuel Heap and Son Ltd also had premises at Bentfield Mill, Greenfield – 1891 Directory (Uppermill and Greenfield): Listed as fullers and finishers. We think they may have had a mill in Whitworth.

The following old pictures are from the archives at Touchstones.

Caldershaw Mills – Before Conversion:

Caldershaw Mills – After Conversion:

If you look at the existing building there is no doubt that that is what it is. We spoke to the owner of Pennine Fencing and he is aware that there was (is?) a water supply and he knew it came from a long way off and pointed in the direction of Heritage Green. We clocked the distance by road and it appears to be about 0.6 miles.

If you look in the bottom hand corner of the enclosed map Rake Bridge is marked.

Also attached is an article referring to a massive blaze there in 1963.

There is a book about the Heap family called Blue Clogs which is at Touchstones (shelf G3 reference HEA). They were obviously a wealthy family.

We are still wondering if something did go on at Heritage Green as we have to date discovered 3 millstones and it seems odd that they are on or near Heritage Green, but we may never know.

A Catley Lane Head resident suggests Wham Dam was also a source of water for Caldershaw Mills – further research is required.

Healey Hall Mill

Healey Hall Mill History

1916 Cleggs Directory

1910 Directory

1985 Observer Article by John Cole

Healey Hall Bottoms Mill

John Leach & Sons – Healey Hall Bottoms Mill

Pillings Mill

Pillings Mill was a factory, built in the early 1800’s, which produced gun cotton during the World Wars. It is believed the mill burnt down shortly after 1945. There are now no signs of the mill that was located in Grove Wood, close to the Facit Branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway line.

Samual Heap & Son

History of Samuel Heap & Son

Smallshaw Cotton Mill

Maxim Papers – Smallshaw Cotton Mill

Spring Mill

Spring Mill was one of the oldest mills in Spodden Valley. It was built around 1810 and rebuilt in a new location in the 1890’s as a dyeing and bleaching mill for fabric. Spring Mill had its own tram to bring coal and acid to the factory and finished cloth down to Broadley Siding, where goods were tipped directly into waiting wagons on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway line. The railway line was constructed in 1870. Broadley Siding was also used by the quarries in the surrounding hill.

1929 1: 2,500 OS map.  The 3ft-gauge tramway shown on this map had been laid by 1910 to connect Spring Mill Print Works with what continued to be known as Broadley Stone Siding loading bank. It is not known when the tramway ceased to be used, but the siding and loading bank closed in 1955/56. 

From 1886 until c1900 Broadley Stone Siding was the point where stone, brought down from the moors to the west on a tramway, was then shaped and dispatched via the Facit Branch. The course of the tramway can be inferred from the map as its cuttings and embankments remain in place, for example close to field number 886.901.

Tonacliffe Mill

In 1845 Tonacliffe Mill was a water powered pollen fulling mill. Fulling is the process used to remove all natural oils from the cloth and involved soaking the cloth in stone tanks of urine and then putting the fabric under pressure to create a dense fabric that was used for coats. There was a row of mill houses, built for the millworkers, adjacent to the mill, but these were destroyed by flooding in 1925. Theses houses were rebuilt by Whitworth Council and demolished in the 1960’s.

Old Mills of Heywood

Click here for more information.


Ding Quarry





Daniel Fold Farm circa 1960.

Harper Road Farm.

This 1891 census shows the Whipp family living at Naden Head farm. They moved from there into Lanehead village where they lived until 2014.

Fisher Field Farm.


Great War Munitions Production in Rochdale

WWII Healey Dell Munitions Factory


Broadley Railway Station

Other Resource

Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History – Samual Heap & Son Ltd.

Archives Hub – To find unique sources for your research – Samual Heap & Son Ltd.

The National Archives – Samual Heap & Son Ltd.